She Just Wants To Go Home
December 30, 2009
We went to visit Mom this afternoon. When we walked into her room, she was half out of the bed, her legs dangling over the side, her torso curved around as if she were trying to get up.
Which is exactly what she was doing.
She had pulled the oxygen tube off her head and the wee alarm box that's usually hooked up to her top was nowhere to be seen.
As soon as she saw us, she cried, "Oh thank God you're here! Now I can leave!"
"Mom! Were you trying to get out of bed?"
"Yes! We have to go!"
And then I spent the next 45 minutes explaining to her that no, she couldn't go, she was supposed to stay there, she was in her bed in her room at Brooke Grove, she was getting the care she needed.
She would have none of it. After another litany of "I can't stay here all night" and "Get me out of here" I finally said, "But Mom, you can't walk."
"Oh. I forgot about that."
Unfortunately, that moment of clarity didn't last long and we were right back into it. She didn't seem to understand that she was in the nursing home, that the people who kept walking past her door were nurses and aides, and that there were lots of other residents.
I kept repeating this over and over, looking her in the eyes, looking for some glimmer of comprehension, getting sadder by the minute.
And then some different random synapse in her brain fired and she said, "You've never had big boobs, have you?"
My head wanted to explode, but I managed to keep it together enough to say, "Nope, I've never had big boobs, Mom."
She continued, "Anne (my younger sister) has the big boobs. She's always had big boobs."
We talked a little more about my boobs (small) versus my sister's boobs (big). I thought maybe my boobs had successfully distracted her, but such was not the case and we climbed back on the "Take me home" carousel.
Finally I just had to pull my self together, give her a kiss, and say goodbye.
The pull of home is so strong for her. I suppose some folks might put a metaphysical spin on it and equate "home" with "heaven" or some such religious thing like going home to Jesus, but I think she just wants her life back and that desire is manifesting as this need to go home. Home is where she is in control, where she calls the shots, where she can pick up the phone and call her pals, cook a spaghetti casserole or a rare roast beef, watch "Everybody Loves Raymond" and "Golden Girls", and sleep in her own bed in her own room in her own home.
Oh, and remind me that I have small boobs.